The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit & the Protection of the Whistleblower Act
The Protection of the Whistleblower Act (“the Act”) seeks to encourage employees to disclose improper practices, either occurring within the organisation they work or in which their organisation may be involved. To this end, the identity of the disclosing employee (“the whistleblower”) cannot be shared by a whistleblowing reporting officer or a whistleblowing reports unit unless the whistleblower consents thereto.
Moreover, the Act prohibits subjecting the whistleblower to detrimental action. However, this only applies where a disclosure is made in good faith without any expectation of personal gain and the whistleblower reasonably believes that the information provided is true.
While disclosures should, to the extent possible, be made and acted on internally, the Act recognises that situations may arise in which an employee may not be able to do so. This is why the Act also allows for the external disclosure of improper practices to designated authorities.
In the case of improper practices involving money laundering or the funding of terrorism, the designated authority is the FIAU. As required by law, and to better manage external disclosures, the FIAU has established a Whistleblowing Reports Unit within its Legal Affairs section.
The FIAU values any external disclosure it receives. Information about alleged improper practices can provide it with new leads or corroborate existing information. Additional information allows the FIAU to better understand the extent of money laundering and funding of terrorism in Malta, enabling it to focus its enforcement and analytical resources where they are most required.
Disclosures to the FIAU’s Whistleblowing Reports Unit can be made by our contact form or in writing addressed to the FIAU’s Whistleblowing Reports Unit.
Section 5.14 of the Implementing Procedures – Part I provides some further guidance on whistleblowing and the FIAU. This is to be supplemented in the coming months by further ad hoc guidance and other initiatives to help interested parties better understand their rights under the Act and how they can contribute to the fight against money laundering and the funding of terrorism.